Beresford Hall was part of the original 950-acre land grant
given to Richard Beresford on September 13, 1706. Beresford was from
Barbados and was described as very ambitious. He was part of the settlers
(Allstons, Gibbes, Middletons) that were focused on their goals not those
of the Lord Proprietors. Beresford was very active in the new colony. He served
on the Grand Council and was a member of the First Royal Assembly. “By the
time of his death in 1724, he had served in nearly every public office
that the colony had to offer.”1 In honor of his political service, two streets
in the city were name for him. Beresford Alley (which is now Chalmers) and
Beresford Street (which is now Fulton St). Both of these parts of town
turned into a “red light district” and the streets names where changed in order
to help “clean up the area.”
Richard Beresford was married twice, first to Sarah Cook who
died giving birth to their son, John and then to Dorothy Mellish. They had
a son named Richard. On March 17, 1724, Beresford was killed by a falling tree
limb. At the time of his death, he had acquired 10 land grants
encompassing over 4,800 acres of land. His estate was divided between his
two sons except for a portion that was called the “Beresford Bounty.” This
was a trust that was used to establish a free school for the poor of St.
Thomas and St. Dennis parishes where his land grants were located. The
Beresford Bounty is still at work today and is administered by the
Episcopal Church in Pineville, South Carolina. Richard Beresford, Jr.
inherited Beresford Hall and lived on the property. The land was put up for
sale in 1761. Per an advertisement in the South Carolina Gazette” the above
lands are fit for plantations, sawing, brick making, lime-burning, cutting
firewood, marketing, or keeping stock upon” (S.C. Gazette July 3, 1761).
The land at that time was purchased by a prominent cabinet maker, Thomas Elfe.
Thomas Elfe was from London and was given credit for starting the
tradition of craving rice ears or stalks into the wooden posts of beds. These
beds were called “Rice Beds.” his furniture was in high demand and from
the 1768 to 1775, he sold over 1600 pieces of furniture. Elfe was an
astute business man and he diversified his business holding by purchasing real
estate. In addition to the Beresford Hall Plantation, he owned a
plantation on Daniel Island (approximately where Black baud is located
Thomas Elfe and his family never resided at Beresford Hall
for any length of time. Thomas Elfe had two sons, Thomas Jr. and George.
George inherited the land from his mother or purchased Beresford Hall from his
brother and did live on the property. It stayed the Elfe family until 1888.
Sometime around 1790 a portion of the land was sold to
Edward and Samuel Martin, who were brick makers. Remnants’ of their brick
making operations and those of John Gordan, John Moore Jr. and Thomas Addison
can be seen today throughout Beresford Hall. In 1888, the Martin and the Elfe properties
were bought by Emily Ward and then were combined with Palmetto Hall
and Spring Hill Plantation. Between 1888 and 1935 this area changed hands
at least six times. In 1935, this piece of land was purchased by the trust
of the Guggenheim. They are one of the nation’s wealthiest mining families.
The Guggenheim Foundation sold 744 acres to Greenwood
Development Corporation in 1999. Greenwood designed and developed
Beresford Hall Settlement as we know it today. After two years, all the sites
were sold to individuals.